Detroit Lions Need to Change Offensive Play Calling

Seattle Lion FanAnalyst IISeptember 22, 2009

The photo of Matthew Stafford says it all.  That is not a happy camper.

But Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan should take a look at the game film but look at what the Vikings did offensively instead of what the Lions did.

They adjusted to the Lions defense.  They went with a short passing game that used bubble screens, quick slants and underneath routes. 

With the weapons the Lions have on offense such as Calvin Johnson and Dennis Northcut catching those quick slants, Brandon Pettigrew and Kevin Smith used on bubble screens and underneath routes, the pressure would be off Matthew Stafford to make the big plays down the field.

The Lions focus should be to get the ball into the play makers hands.  I would love to see CJ with 10-15 catches a game but with a ton of YAC (Yards After Catch). 

Brandon Pettigrew had a solid game but only four receptions.  He showed some toughness on one of those catches when he caught a screen pass and pretty much on his own got the first down.

Yeah, I know, Stafford has the big arm and Linehan's offense likes to push down field.  But what really needs to be done right now is to worry about every 10 yards.  Move the chains.  Use your play makers and allow them to get your yardage. 

Sure, you have to take your shots down field.  But with this type of offense, you can pick and choose when to unleash that big arm and hit a 40- to 50-yarder to Johnson on a go-route or a post pattern.

Screen passes are a great extension of a running game.  If done properly, the running back has better opportunities to find creases on a screen pass than trying to run it up the gut all the time.  And it allows the offensive line to keep pushing out, get in space and clear some lanes.

Quick hitting pass plays will cut down on Stafford's turnover ratio but increase his confidence.  It keeps the offense on the field longer and just wears a defense down.

Stafford does have the makings of becoming a great quarterback.  And regardless of any doubt people had of taking him over Sanchez, I really don't think Sanchez would have fared any better with the Lions. 

The Lions biggest weakness is their defense.  Best way to mask that is to have clock killing drives with a low-risk short game.  Keep the opposing defense on the field for as long as possible.